A little more on Evan Meek: In the past couple of outings, he's been sitting at 92-94. According to Fangraphs, in his breakout year of 2010, his average heater was clocked at 95.1, and he threw it 59% of the time. This year, it's at 92.7, and he uses it just 45% of the time. Meek has gone more to the cutter, which has dropped from 2010's 92.7 to its current 90.6. But his velocity has been building since the spring.
The larger problem has been location. According to the team, his pitches have been staying up and not moving as much, so it sounds to us like he'll be going to Indy to both get steady innings and tweak his mechanics a bit to drive the ball down in the zone. His ground balls have dropped from 56.7% to 37.1% over that time, and his line drives have jumped from 16.1% to 37.1%, so that analysis sure looks about right.
In nine outings, he has a 5.59 ERA, a .324 OBA, and WHIP of 1.345, and his K rate has dropped noticeably. The Pirates can't depend on him in high leverage situations, and so it's off to Indy to try to find his mojo, which took a hike after his shoulder woes of last season.
We give the Pirate FO credit. They rolled the dice by taking Meek and Pedro Alvarez north after poor camp performances. Looks like one out of two worked out.
And it does again show why the Pirates are leery of investing long-term in relievers specifically and pitchers generally. The issues of injury/performance just don't make pitchers a good bet to lock up over a long stretch of time.